15:50 GMT +327 October 2016
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    ISLAMABAD, January 19 (RIA Novosti correspondent Vladimir Shreter) - President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan has ordered the release of all Pakistani citizens being held in the Shibirgan (the capital city of the North-Eastern Afghan province) prison.

    The president's decree applies to all Pakistanis who fought for the Taliban prior to 2002, News newspaper reported Monday. However the decree does not apply to individuals involved in various crimes or who are associated with the Al Qaeda terrorist organization.

    This gesture of good will may not be carried out. Djauzdjan and a number of neighboring provinces with a Turkmen majority (scientific literature refers to northern Afghanistan as Afghan Turkestan) are under the control of former Northern Alliance general, Abdul Rashid Dostum. Mr. Dostum is an ethnic Uzbek. Several thousand troops and officers serve under his command. The outcome of the president's initiative depends entirely on Mr. Dostum's decision to implement this decree.

    According to various reports, 400-500 Pakistanis are being kept in Shibirgan. Shortly after Pakistani Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan visited Kabul, Jamali Karzai released 49 Pakistanis from the metropolitan prison as a return gesture after 149 Afghanis were released from Pakistani prisons.

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